Setting an appropriate service level goal within your contact centre is a tricky proposition. For ‘live’ channels like phone or webchat, you need to consider what level of service is likely to delight your customers, what level they will simply not tolerate and what level your cost model will allow you to support. Historical data, market research and a bit of ‘finger-in-the-air’ estimating all come into play.

For your ‘non-live’ channels such as email, though, what is the current benchmark? On top of that, are you certain that it really is the Gold Standard and the best that you can offer?

An interesting piece of research published by Call Centre Helper said that, in the UK at the moment, approximately 71% of contact centres have an email service goal of 1 day or more. Now, it must be said that all of these contact centres may have really good, substantiated reasons for setting the goals at this level but, equally, it could be that these businesses are still displaying ‘old-world’ thinking and not looking at what the customer may actually want.

Another study showed that many of the top 100 retailers in the US are regularly able to respond to customer emails in as little as 5 hours. In this global world, this could (and probably will) translate quickly into the new customer expectation – as with everything, what delights customers now will become the bare minimum requirement fairly soon. We live in an age of multi-channel communication so surely the consumer is right to expect a quicker response and express their unhappiness when they don’t get it?

Many people may think that this is a battle that just doesn’t need to be fought. The customers are happy enough and can contact your business in many different way. The common misconception is that, in order to provide a quicker response to email communications, a major uplift in headcount is required. But, with Real-Time Automation, this doesn’t have to be the case. Hidden within your planning for live channels lies idle time which can be proactively identified and dynamically converted into productive back office time. This increase in productivity will allow your business to complete more customer interactions over more channels with the same FTE, allowing your agents to delight more of your customers and eliminate repeat contacts.

Real-Time Management White paper